Let’s talk about a sample that isn’t a sample at all. Lady Gaga can and has been accused of a lot of things involving theft of other people’s music, but one thing that’s hardly ever done in her music is sampling. And by that I mean direct sampling; recording a loop and playing it back in your own track.

There’s been outrage a few weeks back that Lady Gaga’s new single Born this Way would be creepily similar to Express Yourself (1989) by Madonna. By the way you can say Madonna borrowed parts of that song from Respect Yourself (1972) by The Staple Singers. I don’t want to get into the Born this Way/Express Yourself-discussion, but it reminded me of something going on a few years back when Bad Romance (2009) by Lady Gaga came out in The Netherlands.

Apart from really hard to distinguish drumloop from Ballanation (2000) by DJ Jean, Bad Romance doesn’t use any samples. But Dutch people instantly recognised the ‘electronic saw’ noise in Bad Romance as a sample from one of Rotterdam’s finest classic rave formations Human Resource and their 1991 hit-single Dominator. If you Google “Lady Gaga Dominator” you can find a pile of discussions in Dutch about whether or not Lady Gaga stole the sample.

Guess what? She didn’t. That distinct sound is what’s known as a ‘hoover’ among rave-lovers and is actually a preset on many synths, in this case the Roland Alpha Juno. It’s quite commonly used in rave and later hardcore tracks and you can find tons of videos of people recreating it. Even on a Casio.

The Prodigy became famous for introducing the ‘hoover’-sound into the rave scene with their 1991 song Charly (you can see the Roland-synth in the video) and they certainly didn’t sample it from Human Resource either. It’s interesting considering the Prodigy have sampled a lot of people, but most of their synth-noises come straight from the electronics. I mean, the band is named after a synth, the Moog Prodigy for crying out loud.

So: no, Lady Gaga did not sample the hoover from Human Resource:

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